A new art house in Edgewater



Tricia Van Eck
  • 6018North artistic director Tricia Van Eck

The first floor of 6018North has been stripped to its studs. The room feels raw and open. This is an appropriate aura for the new Edgewater-based arts initiative run by former Museum of Contemporary Art curator Tricia Van Eck. “When I first started the project, I was thinking about how this space could foster creativity in Chicago," says Van Eck. "I am specifically interested in sustainability, sound, experimental performance, and installation.” She started 6018 after leaving the MCA last June. She has prodigious plans for the project. However, her visions are currently tempered by the size, and state, of the space.

The back section of the house is falling apart. The floorboards are porous and thin. But the precarious condition is Van Eck’s inspiration. While giving me a tour, Van Eck describes her ideas for indoor/outdoor spaces, an artist-in-residence program, a small sound studio, and even a sustainable garden. She's also engaging young Chicago architects for the redesign, working with Eva Kultermann's IIT architecture class to create a new blueprint for the house.

If the space unfolds as planned, 6018 will be a new node connecting diverse art forms, artists, and audiences. “This is a house in a neighborhood. I imagine this could be a microlab for ideas. What is learned here can be done in a macro way throughout Chicago.” Like Theaster Gates with Dorchester Projects, Van Eck has an interest in carving out art spaces outside of Chicago’s larger art institutions. And after spending 13 years at the MCA, she feels she’s in a good position to bring her concept to life. “Chicago needs a form to bring people together. While Theaster is doing something similar, the one difference is there’s no cultural vacuum up here. I’m more interested in creating strands of communication throughout the city. I just want to connect the dots.”

Right now, 6018 remains mainly in the planning stages. Van Eck's goal for the year is to get the house in better condition. Until then, 6018 will host private dinners, press previews, and small installations that Van Eck will curate. Even absent robust programming, Van Eck hopes 6018 will incubate experimental culture. “I want to create synergies and opportunities. I want people to understand that art doesn’t have to be in a museum or a gallery. It can be here, in a house.”

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